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What is an Articulating Video Borescope?
An articulating video borescope is an inspection tool equipped with optics. It is used for inspecting areas and tight spaces that are impossible to visualize without it. This tool has a handheld unit connected to a long probe with an articulating camera tip.
Typically, an articulating borescope will be inserted into an engine so that it can be inspected without having to be taken apart. A technician will use this tool to look for cracks, corrosion and general signs of wear and tear inside complicated components. This tool allows technicians to conduct routine inspections at a fraction of the time and cost of conducting a typical inspection.
Articulating video borescopes help technicians to conduct safe, thorough, and accurate inspections. These tools are available in different sizes and styles designed for specific uses. The most common inspections are conducted on components such as turbine engines, pipe systems, and car engines.
How Does an Articulating Video Borescope Work?
This tool consists of a few key components. These include the handheld unit with the HD LCD screen and controls, the quadruple tungsten braided insertion tube, and the medical grade camera tip. The handheld unit controls include a zoom function, playback, video and photo capture, and a joystick for effortless control of the articulating camera tip. At the end of the insertion tube is the articulating camera tip. This part of the probe articulates 4 ways and a full 360 degrees. The camera tip at the end of the probe is equipped with multiple LED lights to illuminate its surroundings clearly for optimum visualization. After photo and video are recorded, users can take out the SD card in the handheld unit and download the content onto their own devices for further analysis.
There are different accessories available to customize this tool even further. Guide tubes can be used to make a flexible borescope probe more rigid and easy to maneuver inside certain components. Guide tubes come in different lengths and thicknesses. There are also different camera attachments, such as side-view mirrors, that allow users to have more visuals when inside components.
Articulating Video Borescopes work by being inserted into a component, such as a combustion engine, and articulated strategically to detect any signs of damage or wear. The long insertion tube is perfect for feeding deep into components or pipe systems for comprehensive inspections. During the inspection, the technician can take pictures or record live videos to review later. Sound is also recorded in many borescope models so videos can have voiceovers for real-time inspection analysis.
How to Use a Borescope
For optimum use and longevity, it is essential that you know how to properly use this kind of tool. The following are tips for getting the best use out of your articulating borescope:
1. Charge the Battery – Make sure the battery is fully charged before you start your inspection. Most borescopes have a full charge of 3 or more hours, which is enough time for most inspections to be carried out uninterrupted.
2. Extend the Tube – Fully extend the insertion probe for maximum articulation. Trying to articulate the probe when it is coiled up can result in internal damage and poor articulation. This will ultimately extend the lifespan of your tool.
3. Insert Slowly – Use caution and slowly insert the probe into the component. This will allow you to see clearly exactly what damage there might be inside a component. Inserting the probe too quickly or too roughly will cause you to miss critical visuals and potentially damage the probe itself.
4. Articulate Slowly – Slowly articulate the probe when conducting your inspection. This allows you to completely see your surroundings and spot cracks or other signs of damage. Articulating too quickly can also damage the probe due to overexertion of the involved cables.
5. Turn off the Component – Never insert the probe into a component that is moving or turned on. This can destroy your scope’s camera and probe. It is also essential for your personal safety when reaching inside components.
6. Is your scope waterproof? – Do not submerge the handheld unit in water unless it is waterproof. Some borescopes are not intrinsically safe due to the electric charge the small camera and LED lights have. Inserting these components of the scope into water can cause electrocution, unless it is a completely waterproof scope.
7. Safe Operating Temperature – Operate an articulating borescope in the safe operating temperature range (typically between -20 degrees Celsius(-4 degrees Fahrenheit) to 60 degrees Celsius(140 degrees Fahrenheit) Operating your tool outside of the safe temperature range can cause deterioration of the borescope, leading to permanent damage and costly repair.
8. Slowly Pull Out the Probe – When you are done conducting your inspection, carefully and slowly pull out the probe. This ensures that the probe does not get stuck inside the engine or gets damaged on the way out.